We are told in our scripture today of 2 Samuel 19 & 20, that the day of claiming and celebrating victory over Absalom was cut short when everyone found out that David was mourning over it. Joab makes a bold move, he killed Absalom and brought this upon his troops himself, but he goes before David and tells him he needs to to his men and commend them for their victory. They were all feeling defeated even though they did what they were commanded to do and won, Joab knew that if David didn’t go and encourage them, they’d no longer want to fight for him. Although Joab wasn’t in the right for the murder of Absalom, he does show us that sometimes a personal confrontation does need to happen. As you can imagine, there was some chaos going on amongst the people, some had stuck with David, but most turned and rebelled with Absalom, now that he is dead, the people were left in a place of uncertainty, but David “won over the hearts of the men of Judah so that they were all of one mind” (v.14) they asked David to return as their king. David’s back in action! Next we see some run ins with David and some men and David does good and makes things right. Our application can summarize these for us, “He spared Shimei [this was the guy who stoned him and his troops earlier and he came back before the king asking for forgiveness], restored Mephibosheth [remember Ziba the one who was supposed to take care of his land to provide for him, went to David and took everything from Mephilbosheth] and rewarded a faithful Barzillai [this was an 80 year old man who showed great respect for David].” It goes on to tell us that these acts of fairness set a standard for government. Even though Israel was united, there were still 12 different tribes in the area, so it wasn’t all sunshine and order happening here, some weren’t sure about David being back as there king and one man in particular, Sheba, rebels against David and attempts to do what Absalom did. David asks Amasa (the commander Absalom had put into place for his men) to go get the men of Judah to fight against Sheba, it took him longer than David had asked, so they went on ahead without him. When Amasa catches up to them, he has a run in with Joab. Is that ever good with this man? Amasa not even realizing the situation doesn’t recognize Joab’s dagger and Joab goes on to kill him, right there, and then gets the troops to follow him. They follow Sheba to Abel Beth Maakah ready to take on and defeat the city in order to get Sheba, scripture tells us a wise woman spoke up. I can’t help but love this. A woman calls over the wall and requests to talk to Joab. When he comes they have a conversation, she asks why he wants to ruin their city and he tells her that they don’t want to if they don’t have to, they just want Sheba, well his head at least, she goes back gets the head of Sheba and throws it over the wall. Victory with no innocent lives taken. And this is where today’s verse comes from.
Confrontation. I don’t know about you, but that word to my personality just does not go well together. But, sometimes it’s necessary. We actually see this come up twice in our reading. Once with Joab and David, but our focus today is this wise woman of Abel Beth Maakah and Joab. This woman loved her city and her people and she didn’t want it to be wiped out, so she speaks up. Our application says, “she stopped Joab’s attack, not with weapons, but with wise words and a plan of action. Often the courage to speak a few sensible words can prevent great disaster.” I love that. Courage, wise words and a plan of action. I think that’s a good place to reflect.
Where is there a problem in which you need courage? Maybe in uncomfortable conversation or confrontation. Is it within your job or a relationship?… Have you been stuck in a place with someone because you’re afraid to speak your heart or the truth or maybe even just apologize to them? Write out what you would say to them if you were willing and able. Try and feel the tugs on your heart as you write the words you would say. Allow the words to flow out as you write. Let’s challenge each other, to be courageous today, and make a step towards confronting or reconciling that situation.
Heavenly Father, Your Word is so good for our hearts, minds and souls. It continues to teach us and convict us and bring us to action for you Lord. Help us to follow in this woman’s example, to be courageous, to use wise words and put those into action. It isn’t easy to do something big and bold like she did, but we pray that you give us the strength, the courage, the desire, the words to do so. We know you want our hearts to be in line with you and anything that’s standing in the way, we want to remove it, we want to move on from it, so Lord help us. Present the opportunity for us to be able to do so, with the words to speak and the ability to move into it. I pray that reconciliations can be made by your grace and love, that peace may be found in relationships through you and that your words and actions can be reflected through us. It’s in your wise and wonderful name we pray, AMEN!